My introduction to motherhood was through my best friend, the first friend I made when I moved South almost nine years ago. She and I were set up in true Jewish match-making fashion—by our parents. I walked away from dinner that night taking comfort in her recognizable brand of jeans and cute black top. Maybe I would be okay in the South after all. It wasn’t until later that I realized she saved the Lilly Pulitzer for more special occasions, like Saturdays and birthday parties. She was my first friend to become a mother, long before I ever decided I wanted to get pregnant and pop a tiny human out of my vagina, or in my case, evict him from my belly with major surgery. Although both boys, her first baby has four years on mine and she had her second before my husband even knocked me up. Clearly I took the slower, more scenic route to motherhood. And the differences don’t stop there.
She breastfed her first born for 17 months. I breastfed (if you can even call it that) mine for five days. I chose formula, something her son will never know the taste of. I had a night nurse for two months, and basically never woke up in the middle of the night with my son, who was sleep trained by two months. She did it all that by herself. She crafted every decoration and baked every dessert herself for her son’s first birthday. I paid someone on Etsy to do it for me. She would labor as long as possible without the epidural and avoid a C-section at all costs. I would scream “DRUGS” the minute I got to the hospital and schedule my C-section if I were to have another baby. She went on to have two more children, making her a mom of three. I’m still a mom of one and plan to stay that way forever. She would never call her child an asshole. I dedicate entire blog posts to calling mine that. She cooks. I make reservations. She is up early in the morning to feel productive. I’m lucky if I can get out of bed and my child to preschool on time. Sometimes I go back to sleep after drop-off.
The real truth is, none of this matters when it comes to our friendship, the love we have for each other, and the respect and support we give to each other as women and moms. We are there for each other no matter what. My best friend took to motherhood right away. It took me almost a year because of postpartum depression. And she was there for me every step of the way. She always accepted me for who I was, especially in motherhood, which was the complete opposite of her. We celebrate each other’s professional and personal accomplishments, and milestones of our children. We grieve together at the loss of loved ones. We text each other all day everyday. We constantly laugh at ourselves and each other.
I always joke with this friend that she’s the reason for my failure at breastfeeding, my unnecessary long labor, and basically motherhood for the first six months of my son’s life. This is obviously not the truth, but everything I thought I wanted and knew, I learned from watching her and her uncanny abilities as both a superhero Pinterest mom and champion breastfeeder. As a result, I thought I would have my baby the old-fashioned way and miraculously fall in love with motherhood while transforming into supermom, professional crafter, breastfeeding enthusiast, and all around domestic goddess.
What I failed to realize before having my son, is that no woman has any clue about the mother they will be until they actually become one. I didn’t become any of those things and it started it with laboring for 24 hours, pushing for two of those, and then having a C-section. My friend probably didn’t even know what kind of mother she would be. And even though I like to think that she always has it together, I know my friend has experienced sleepless nights, feeding struggles, toddler tantrums and other stresses of motherhood. She just happens to be an incredibly strong woman who somehow always seems to handle it with grace. It’s one of the qualities I admire most about her. And having a type-A personality doesn’t hurt either. That’s another difference we share as I consider myself to be more type B+.
What I love most about my friend is her honesty and willingness to help out other moms. She is always happy to share what works for her but gives zero fucks if you don’t take her advice. There is no guilting, no shaming, no judging. She understands that motherhood is not one size fits all. What works for her might not work for you. I ask her for advice all the time, and even though I don’t always follow it, she is the best human and friend I know, and again, we couldn’t be more different as parents.
At the end of the day, moms are moms, no matter what their choices and parenting styles might be. And motherhood is incredible and rewarding, scary and hard, and a shit show 90 percent of the time. We all have that universal experience of motherhood in common. It binds and bonds us all together and we need each other to survive it. We need to rely on each other to survive it. My best friend is part of my tribe, the village it takes to allow me to be a happy mom raising a happy child. We are two women who couldn’t be more different when it comes to motherhood, but we love each other, learn from each other, support each other, and build one another up everyday.
This article was originally published at Suburban Misfit Mom. on June 16, 2016.